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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 12.06.19

 Contents

A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1.Akınci: “The TRNC and Turkey were left with no choice but to engage in their own hydrocarbon activities”

2. Erhurman:  “The arrest warrant for Fatih crew members will increase tension”

3. Hasipoglu: “There is no legal base regarding the arrest warrant against Fatih”

4. The “government” will convene to discuss the Cyprus problem

5. Five billion sterling is the annual contribution of the Turkish Cypriot businesspeople living in the UK to the country’s economy

6. Valid “passport” of at least 60 days for the “citizens” travelling to Turkey

7. “Martyr Lieutenant Caner Gönyeli 2019 Search and Rescue Exercise” kicked off yesterday

B. Turkish Press

1. Turkey’s MFA condemns “US Congress resolution describing it as nonbinding”

2. AKP changes strategy for Istanbul rerun polls

3. Main opposition CHP to train all its ballot box officials

 

A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1.Akınci: “The TRNC and Turkey were left with no choice but to engage in their own hydrocarbon activities”

According to illegal Bayrak television (12.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-warns-of-dangers-of-hydrocarbon-tensions), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has alleged that attempts were being made to leave Turkey and the “TRNC” out of the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Akıncı touched upon the latest developments in the region during the annual “Caner Gönyeli Search and Rescue exercise” which kicked off on Tuesday.

Akıncı argued that the rising tensions in the region were not something the Turkish Cypriot side desired.

He claimed, however, that “the TRNC and Turkey were left with no choice but to engage in their own hydrocarbon activities. The TRNC and Turkey are excluded from the region’s energy plans. Both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are part of this geography. Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have always been part of this region’s history and they will continue to do so,” he argued.

Reiterating that the island’s wealth belongs to both communities and that the Turkish Cypriot side had repeatedly highlighted the need for joint planning on how to proceed with hydrocarbon activities, Akinci alleged also the following:  “We proposed on numerous occasions to cooperate on this issue and to set up a joint committee. Unfortunately, they [Greek Cypriots] refused our offer and resumed with their unilateral activities. We told them that they would leave us with no other choice but to take similar steps of our own. This is what we are doing at the moment. We told them we would conduct our own exploration activities and that’s what we are doing. We told them we would drill if they started drilling and that is what we are doing now,” he said.

Akıncı, argued, however, that the Turkish Cypriot side is still ready to cooperate on the issue of hydrocarbons if the Greek Cypriot side showed the slightest intention to do so.

“I would like to repeat my call. The Eastern Mediterranean could become a lake of peace. Everyone could benefit from this. We do not want tensions or conflict. We want peace and understanding. I say this with the determination to protect our rights as Turkish Cypriots. We are ready to cooperate if we see the smallest hint to cooperate or act jointly on the matter” he added.

Asked about the latest Washington based map outlining energy routes, Akıncı said that the map did not exclude Turkey but what was important was not what was on paper but what was actually happening in reality. “That map is dated 2015. We are in 2019 and what is happening now is different from what the map entails both on land and at sea. As a result, what interests us is not what is on paper but what is happening in reality,” he said.

In response to a question on the possibility of resuming talks, Akıncı claimed that the reason why the talks had not started had nothing to do with current developments.

“The deadlock in the negotiations process is not because of the current developments taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is because the Greek Cypriot side refuses to recognize Turkish Cypriots’ political equality and our effective participation in decision-making,” he also alleged.

Akıncı reminded that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had tasked his special envoy with the duty of seeking common ground for the resumption of talks but that she had failed.

“Past convergences need to be accepted if we are to agree on a common ground to restart talks. The core of these convergences is the political equality of the two sides. The Greek Cypriot side is currently refusing to accept this,” Akinci alleged.

 

2. Erhurman:  “The arrest warrant for Fatih crew members will increase tension”

Turkish daily Kıbrıs (12.06.19) reports that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party Tufan Erhurman stated that the arrest warrant issued by the Republic of Cyprus for the members of the crew of Turkish drilling vessel Fatih will increase the tension in the area.

Erhurman, who made this statement on social media, stated that it should be understood, as soon as possible, that “political equality and fair sharing are essential for peace”.

(CS)

 

3. Hasipoglu: “There is no legal base regarding the arrest warrant against Fatih”

Turkish Cypriot Star Kıbrıs (12.06.19) reports that Oguzan Hasipoglu, “deputy” with the National Unity Party (UBP) claimed that there is no legal base on the  arrest warrant issued by the Republic of Cyprus for the members of the crew of Turkish drilling vessel Fatih.

Hasipoglu, who issued a written statement, claimed that Fatih is activated in Turkey’s continental shelf and according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea the activities of the vessel are taking place in Turkey.

(CS)

 

4. The “government” will convene to discuss the Cyprus problem

Turkish Cypriot daily Güneş (12.06.19) reports that the “foreign minister and spokesman of the council of ministers” Kudret Ozersay stated that the “council” evaluated during a meeting the Cyprus problem and will also discuss issues related to political developments soon.

He said that the “council of ministers” will hold an extraordinary meeting soon to discuss the issue but the date and time will be announced later.

(CS)

 

5. Five billion sterling is the annual contribution of the Turkish Cypriot businesspeople living in the UK to the country’s economy

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (12.06.19) under the front-page title: “5 billion sterling annual endorsement”, reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce in the UK Muhammet Yasarata has stated that thechamber represents the Turkish Cypriot businesspeople in the UK, whos annual endorsement is 5 billion sterling, annually. Yasarata added that the figures succeeded by the Turkish Cypriot businesspeople in the UK is even higher than the annual “gross national product of the TRNC”.

Speaking in a panel organized by the Chamber, Yasarata alleged further that the number of the Turkish Cypriots living in the UK has reached 300 thousand and argued that the totalassets of this population is approximately 50 billion sterling.

“UK is the house of the Turkish Cypriots living here. Our biggest wish as Turkish Cypriots who live in the UK is to approach and reach a fair solution on issues related with the solution of the Cyprus problem”, Yesilada said, adding that it is not possible for him to understand the violation of Turkish Cypriots’ human rights in Cyprus at a time when Brexit issue discussions continue. He went on to reiterate that the “isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots harms deeply the confidence and trust between the two communities”. 

Yesilada went on to support that he was always in favour of peace process in Cyprus, arguing that they want to make investments in both sides of the island.

(…)

(AK)

 

6. Valid “passport” of at least 60 days for the “citizens” travelling to Turkey

Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs (12.06.19) reports that the “TRNC citizens” who want to travel to Turkey must have a valid passport of at least 60 days.

This warning was issued yesterday to the “TRNC citizens” by the “ministry of interior” on the basis of the Article 7 of Law on Foreigners and International Protection [No. 64580] of the Republic of Turkey., writes the paper.

(CS)

 

7. “Martyr Lieutenant Caner Gönyeli 2019 Search and Rescue Exercise” kicked off yesterday

Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (12.06.19) under the front-page title: “Exercise which provides reassurance”, reports that the annual “Martyr Lieutenant Caner Gönyeli 2019 Search and Rescue Exercise” kicked off yesterday morning in the breakaway regime with the participation of search and rescue teams from Turkey and the “TRNC”.

The first stage of the exercise, the land phase, took place in occupied Keryneia  101 Evler (houses)  which is located near the occupied St. Hilarion castle, while, today the second stage of the exercise which is to be conducted at sea will take place off the coast of occupied Famagusta. The exercise will take place based on two different scenarios outside of the occupation regime’s “territorial waters”and within Turkey’s search and rescue area.

On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (12.06.19) reports the “brigadier general of the security forces”, Tevfik Algan alleged that the “authority for conducting search and rescue exercise in the TRNC’s territorial waters and airspace belongs to the TRNC”, whereas, he claimed, the authority for the areas in occupied Kokkina and occupied Morfou in the west and occupied Famagusta in the east as well as in the international territorial waters and airspace in the north of Famagusta, belongs to Turkey.

(AK)

B. Turkish Press

1. Turkey’s MFA condemns “US Congress resolution describing it as nonbinding”

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (11.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-condemns-nonbinding-u-s-congress-resolution-144092) reported that Turkey on June 11 slammed a resolution approved by the U.S. Congress on the nature of allied ties between Turkey and the United States.

“The bill passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on June 10 does not comply with the rooted amity and alliance relations of Turkey and the U.S. It is not possible to accept the unfair and groundless claims of the bill about Turkey’s foreign policy and judicial system,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

It is an “unacceptable” decision, the Ministry’s statement stressed, adding that using such a “menacing tone” is inadmissible.

“As we emphasize every time, the best way to allay the different points of view between allies goes through dialogue and respect for the countries’ sovereign decisions,” the statement underlined. The U.S. resolution is “nonbinding,” according to the Ministry.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on June 10 with the purpose of “expressing concern for the U.S.-Turkey alliance.”

The bill underlined the importance of the allegiance between the United States and Turkey, given Turkey’s NATO alliance and condemned the latter for its decision to buy Russian S-400 air and missile defense systems.

The U.S. government has offered Turkey a “strong, capable and NATO-interoperable” defense system in accord with Turkey’s requirements, the bill wrote.

It also condemned Turkey’s decision to purchase S-400 missiles, saying this “endangers the integrity of U.S.-Turkey alliance and undermines NATO.”

If Turkey does not halt the S-400 purchase, the United States will terminate Turkey’s participation in the F-35 industrial program and will implement sanctions through Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the bill’s resolution stressed.

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (12.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-turkish-defense-chiefs-to-discuss-s-400-row-144111) reports that the U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on June 11 he will discuss Washington's spat with Ankara over its purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defense system with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.      

Asked if he had received any response from Akar on the issue, he said the two sides could update each other on developments during today's phone call.      

"I'm hoping tomorrow for him and me to exchange views and get an update on what kind of progress we've made. That's really all I have to update you on," he told reporters.      

His remarks came ahead of his meeting with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at the Pentagon.      

(…)

 

2. AKP changes strategy for Istanbul rerun polls

In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (12.06.19- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/serkan-demirtas/akp-changes-strategy-for-istanbul-rerun-polls-144109) columnist Serkan Demirtas, writes the following about the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) strategy on the forthcoming rerun Istanbul elections:

With less than two weeks to go to the Istanbul rerun elections, a remarkable change in the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) strategy is being observed. An earlier plan of the AKP was to intensify the election campaign following the long Eid al-Fitr holiday with the utmost involvement of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

There were reports suggesting that Erdogan was intending to hold rallies in almost all districts of Istanbul in a bid to call on the voters to support the AKP’s nominee, Binali Yıldırım. A revised plan, however, stipulates a less visible Erdogan in Istanbul and rules out a joint rally with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahceli.

Bahçeli, who also had said that he would set up his headquarters in Istanbul after the holiday to back Yıldırım, has seemingly changed his mind.

One of the reasons for this change is the assessment at the AKP that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate, Ekrem İmamoglu, takes the advantage in turning the Istanbul polls into an election between him and Erdogan. Therefore, by pulling Erdoğan out of the scene, AKP officials believe that İmamoglu will have difficulties in consolidating his votes.

Another reason why the AKP has resorted to this way may be because of the not so promising results of the public opinion surveys on the Istanbul polls. As they suggest that İmamoglu is still ahead of Yıldırım, saving Erdogan from a potential loss is what the AKP eyes.

In a political environment in which Erdogan will be less active, the AKP wants to put Yıldırım’s moderate and calm political character forward. His campaign often mentions his performances as a transportation minister and the big projects he has carried out.

A recent decision by the AKP to permit Yıldırım to appear on a live TV debate with İmamoglu should also be considered within this context. The last TV debate of this kind had taken place between Erdogan and former CHP chair Deniz Baykal before the 2002 general elections. There was a general ban on all AKP officials from participating in any TV debate together with the representatives of rival political parties.

In addition to all these, and at the same time, there is a great effort to tarnish the positive image that İmamoglu has been displaying since he was nominated as the CHP’s Istanbul candidate.

Apart from all these, Yıldırım and other senior AKP officials continue their efforts to approach conservative Kurds in Istanbul and in the southeastern Anatolian provinces to attract their votes. Yıldırım’s use of the word “Kurdistan” and “Lazistan” in a statement during a trip to Diyarbakır in recent days has created controversy, particularly on the MHP’s side.

“There is no Kurdistan or Lazistan in Turkey,” Bahceli said on his Twitter account on June 10, in an indirect response to Yıldırım. Bahceli also said that he won’t watch the TV debate between İmamoglu and Yıldırım because of the choice of journalist İsmail Küçükkaya as the moderator of the debate. However, the real reason why Bahceli said this is believed to be his anger towards Yıldırım’s recent statement on “Kurdistan.”

The CHP side seems to be comfortable and certain of İmamoglu’s win, this time with a bigger vote difference. Kılıcdaroglu does not want to heavily engage in the campaign, leaving the scene entirely to İmamoglu. But a good share of the CHP lawmakers have already been deployed to Istanbul to lend support to the election campaign.

The cancellation of İmamoglu’s victory by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) is still one of the main items of his election campaign with a purpose to mobilize the sense of justice in the hearts of the Istanbul voters.

The election results on June 23 will show which of these strategies will prevail”.

 

3. Main opposition CHP to train all its ballot box officials

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/main-opposition-chp-to-train-all-its-ballot-box-officials-144107) reported that Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu announced on June 11 that they will train the party’s ballot box officials who will work in the Istanbul rerun elections on June 23.

“We will distribute a booklet to our friends who will work at the ballot boxes. We will give them the names of citizens who will vote at those ballot boxes. We will ask them to check the lists that voters leave their signatures on,” Kılıcdaroglu said at the CHP’s weekly parliamentary group meeting.

“The lists can even be tampered with in the morning of June 23. We will check everything,” he added.

Kilicdaroglu also referred to the opposition’s dispute with the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on its decision to renew the elections for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and said the body “has been discredited in the eyes of the nation.”

(…)

 

 

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TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

(AK/E.H)